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Noted Novelist and Nonfiction Author Offutt to Give Readings at Mercer

January 16, 2008

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

Event Contact:
(478) 301-2588

MACON – Critically acclaimed fiction and nonfiction author Chris Offutt is the 2008 Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Chair in English at Mercer University. The award-wining writer will give two public readings at Mercer University.

On Thursday, Jan. 24, he will read a new story from his just-completed book “Luck.” He will give a second reading on Monday, Feb. 4, sharing his writing from a new essay collection that is in progress. Both programs will be held at 7 p.m. in the Choir Rehearsal Room of the McCorkle Music Building on Mercer’s Macon campus.

The programs are free of charge and open to the general public. For more information on the events, call (478) 301-2588.
“Chris Offutt’s writing comes out of the Kentucky hills, not the ivory tower,” said Gordon Johnston, associate professor of English at Mercer and organizer of Offutt’s visit. “He writes with wit, respect, and brutal realism about working people. His fiction is filled with scarred survivors — laid-off coal miners, Melungeons, ex-convicts, men who see hunting not as a sport, but as a means of feeding their family.”
Offutt’s focus in his writing is the hardscrabble life of the people he grew up with in the Kentucky hill country. He has taught at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and The New York Times called his first nonfiction book, “The Same River Twice,” the “memoir of the decade” for the 1990s.

Offutt is the author of a novel, “The Good Brother”; two collections of short stories, “Kentucky Straight” and “Out of the Woods”; and two memoirs, “No Heroes” and “The Same River Twice.” He is also a screenwriter and has collaborated on projects with comic book artists.

As a part of his appointment as the Sams Distinguished Chair, Offutt is teaching a senior-level course in fiction writing for Mercer students from Jan. 14-Feb. 23.

About the Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Chair of English:
Established in 1993, the Ferrol A. Sams, Jr. Distinguished Chair of English brings a nationally prominent fiction writer, poet or dramatist to Mercer each spring to teach creative writing and highlight the literary arts.  Made possible by a major grant from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, this endowed chair honors Dr. Ferrol A. Sams Jr., a physician, author and distinguished alumnus of the College of Liberal Arts, whose many works include “Run with the Horsemen,” “The Whisper of the River,” and “Down Town.”
About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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